Helping animals more important than birthday presents for Elburn youth

by Martha Quetsch
Lindsey Pietras, 7, of Elburn, is an avid fan of “Animal Planet,” watching it every day to see people help animals overcome adversity.

Inspired, she recently ask her friends coming to her birthday party to bring money or supplies for the Kane County Animal Control Center instead of presents for her.

“I wanted to help the animals instead of getting toys,” Lindsey said.

At her birthday celebration Jan. 10, her guests gave her nearly $120 and lots of pet supplies including toys, eight bags of cat food, 27 cans and eight bags of dog food, chew bones and blankets.

“It felt so good,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey and her mother, Anna Pietras, dropped the money and pet supplies off Jan. 13 at the Animal Control Center, 4060 Keslinger Road.

Animal Control Center director Mary Lawrie is grateful.

“We were very thrilled to have this young lady come in. It was absolutely wonderful to receive all of those gifts,” Lawrie said.

Lawrie said the center appreciates donations like Lindsey’s, particularly during these difficult economic times, when many people are having trouble supporting their pets.

“Many of the donations of food we try to give to people so that they can keep their pets, when they are trying to pay their bills and stay in their homes,” Lawrie said.

Lindsey has several pets at her house, a beagle named Snoopy that the family obtained from the Elburn Animal Clinic; a German shepherd and a fox-hound mix dog from Anderson Animal Shelter; plus two rabbits that a friend could not keep.

Caring for her “rescue pets” at home and giving up birthday presents are just first steps for Lindsey in carrying out her life’s goal to help animals. She plans to continue collecting money and gifts for animal rescue organizations and wants to be a veterinarian or a pet groomer when she grows up.

Help make the increasing public interest in politics continue

Based on the ratings from the various candidate debates and televised speeches leading up to the November presidential election, combined with the increased voter turnout on election day, and general raised political awareness of the public; and it is safe to say that the public has become more intuned and informed of national issues than in the recent past.

A more informed and engaged public can only be a positive thing, and we hope the increased attention on public issues remains as a long-term trend.

Locally, the next opportunity for the public to remain informed and engaged will be April 7, when local elections are held.

While it is important for the public to be active and informed when selecting their national leaders and representatives, it is at least as important for the public to be the same when selecting their local public officials. As much impact as national decisions may have on each citizen’s life, the decisions made at the local level have a much more immediate, direct impact on one’s day-to-day life.

Your local elected officials are the ones who decide the location, amount and type of growth that occurs—or if any growth at all occurs. They put in the sidewalks in your neighborhood; they make sure your communities are safe and clean; they try to address the concerns raised by the public.

Because of their influence on your day-to-day life, becoming informed about local issues and candidates and then making a wise decision on election day will have more direct impact on your life than any vote you cast for candidates at the federal level.

Because of this, we hope to see the increasing awareness and involvement leading up to the November federal election continue into April and beyond. No one can deny that times are tough at all levels of society, and the public must take the responsibility for the actions of the people they put into office.

It is not enough for people to merely complain about the government and how officials “don’t get it” or that they are “all corrupt anyway,” and then do nothing more. The public must begin to share some of the responsibility for the ineffectiveness and corruption of the elected officials they send to office.

The fact that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was re-elected in 1996 while under investigation for corruption is just the most obvious, and disheartening, example of the public not taking their responsibility seriously.

If you want real people making real decisions to benefit the public and not themselves, either vote the right people into office or run yourselves.

In April, you get the chance to pick the elected officials who will have the most direct impact on your lives.

We ask that you do your best to find out as much as you can about the candidates and their positions; then choose wisely.

But the public’s responsibility doesn’t stop there. It must continue to remain informed and engaged, and hold those officials accountable. Because if they do not do the job effectively, you get the opportunity to replace them with someone who will.

Flooding still problem for Mallard Point

2/12 updated: On page 7A of the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of the Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove resident Tom Scales’s comments were misconstrued. The flooding he referred to while describing children losing their shoes while walking on the grass was on the local baseball field, not in the yard of his home.

by Susan O’Neill
More than 100 residents of the Mallard Point subdivision in Sugar Grove attended a meeting on Tuesday called by the Village Board to listen to flooding and drainage concerns. One by one, the residents located their lot on a map of the subdivision and told their specific problems.

Most said they had sump pumps that either never shut off or that run every few minutes. A number of residents said their basements flood every time it rains; others said they have yards with pools of standing water.

Tom Scales said there is so much flooding in his yard that his children lose their shoes in the grass the day after a rain.

For some, the problems have been ongoing. According to an Elburn Herald article in June 2000, resident Laurie Geary said that she and her husband had already had extensive work done to solve the drainage and flooding issues.

“Ten sump pumps later, we discovered our dream house is built on a water aquifer,” she said then.

For others, like Leo Brown, the problems are just beginning. Brown, who has lived in Mallard Point for 10 years, said his sump pump had cob webs in it for the first eight years. He said now it goes on all the time, with a substantial increase in his electric bill as well.

Problems with the subdivision date back to the mid-1990s, when Mallard Point was first built. After the first builder declared bankruptcy, two others took over before the development was finally completed. Difficulties determining who was responsible for what problems go back to the beginning.

Although the annexation agreement called for the establishment of a homeowners association, one was never created. There was also some discussion about establishing a special services area. This would have meant Mallard Point residents would have been charged an additional tax that would pay for maintenance of the property and other outstanding issues, but that did not take place, either.

According to Village President Sean Michels, the development was built with inappropriate grading, causing many of the flooding and drainage issues.

Brad Sauer, who owns the property directly to the south of the subdivision, said that Mallard Point’s drainage problems have destroyed the crops and made that land, once farmed, unusable.

“I know some people think I’m the bad guy,” he told the crowd gathered on Tuesday. “I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to fix the problem, so I’m with you. I want this problem fixed, too.”

Karen Romero, who lives on Brookhaven Circle, attended the Jan. 6 Village Board meeting to see if she could get any assistance from the village. Romero told the board her basement had flooded three times since the beginning of 2008.

She said when she initially approached village staff in October 2008, she was told the problem was a leak in the water line on her property, and it was her responsibility to fix it. She said it wasn’t until she had someone dig up her entire lawn that she discovered it was not where the problem was. She said she has been through three sump pumps and now the sewer line is backing up into her basement.

Romero said that so far, she has spent about $5,000 trying to fix the problem on her own. The last tradesperson she hired told her it was a drainage issue.

“I just don’t want other people to have to pay all this money like I did,” she said.

Trustee Kevin Geary, who owns a home in Mallard Point with his wife Laurie, said he did not feel the village had been responsive to Romero’s concerns and those of other Mallard Point residents. He and village presidential candidate Perry Clark held a meeting with residents several weeks ago.

“I’ve been getting phone calls from everyone,” Geary said. “My opinion is that the village did not want to be bothered with it.”

Village attorney Steve Andersson said the Village Board has asked him to research what the rights and responsibilities are for both the village and the landowners, including the Mallard Point residents and Sauer.

Although several residents said they wanted a timeframe in which the village thought the problem could be solved, village officials were reluctant to set one.

Trustee Mary Heineman said she has spent 12 hours so far talking to people and reading through previous meeting minutes to get a better sense of the problems. She asked the residents for their patience while the village takes steps to come up with both short-term and long-term solutions.

“While I know you all want a timeline, we don’t know the extent of the problem, so we can’t determine how long it will take,” trustee Melisa Taylor added.

Andersson said he will review the annexation agreement, and work with the engineers to determine the problems, as well as attempting to determine what is village-owned and what is not.

The Village Board is expected to approve a contract with the engineering firm Trotter & Associates at its next board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 3, to evaluate the problems.

Swan fulfilled by public service

by Martha Quetsch
Craig Swan has found his more than 14 years as an Elburn Village Trustee personally rewarding.

“The greatest thing in the world is when you get a phone call from a resident and then you take care of a problem for them,” Swan said. “Just knowing that you can make a difference is wonderful.”

Swan announced recently that he will not run for re-election to the Village Board.

“It’s time for some fresh eyes on the board, some new blood,” he said.

His public service began in the 1960s, when he volunteered for 10 years with Conley ambulance service and worked part-time for the Elburn Police Department. Later, serving three years on the Village Planning Commission piqued Swan’s interest in being on the Village Board, he said. So when former Village President Mike Stoffa asked Swan to fill remaining months of a vacated trustee position in the early 1990s, and then another, Swan did not hesitate to step forward. He since was elected to three consecutive terms.

“I realized you can’t pass an ordinance at the local coffee shop. You can talk about what needs to be done, but to change it you need to run for the board, sit at the table, and make decisions,” Swan said. “That’s how you can really make a difference.”

Jim Willey said Swan definitely has made a difference.

“Craig has been like the conscience of the board, seeing what is wrong and what is right,” Willey said.
Willey, village president throughout Swan’s tenure as a trustee, said the Village Board can always count on Swan to provide the perspective of average residents on issues.

One of those issues about seven years ago was a water main on West Nebraska Street that broke every few months. When the Public Works Department was fixing it, homes and businesses in the area were without water.

The village was awarded an Illinois First Grant of nearly $1.5 million to replace the water main, but had not received the money because of state budget delays.

“Craig thought that was wrong. The money had been awarded to Elburn, and we really needed it,” Willey said.

So Swan took up the task of making sure the village obtained the grant money. He regularly e-mailed and called lawmakers, including Sen. Chris Lauzen, lobbying for it.

“Craig never let it get off the radar,” Willey said. “We finally did get the money and it was really due to his persistence. A lot of us had given up on it.”

Willey said among his favorite memories of working with Swan on the Village Board are those of the two of them taking drives through Elburn to check up on things in the village.

“We drove around in all kinds of weather, looking for things that might need taking care of, like a broken street light, things like that. I enjoyed talking to him during those drives, about the community and what was going on, and what we could do to make it better. I will miss that,” Willey said.

One thing Swan is glad to have accomplished is helping work out a contract between the village and Feece Oil for gasoline for village vehicles. He had done business with Feece when his family owned a Ford dealership in town. Swan helped negotiate a much lower fuel price than the village paid to its former supplier, he said.

Among the many additions to the village while Swan has been a trustee are the new wastewater treatment plant, the South Street paving, the annual road and street improvement program, the Metra commuter station, and the Jewel store and other businesses. In addition, the village met the state’s unfunded mandate for radium removal from the village’s water. All of those accomplishments took a lot of work by the Village Board, Swan said.

Swan also is glad he could help rid the village of several old, empty fuel tanks located at the former Northern FS.

“They were rusty and nasty looking, and so many people wanted them to come down,” Swan said.
He and the other trustees worked with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Northern FS to ensure that the tanks and residual fuel were removed.

“It took quite awhile. But determination ruled out on that one because now the tanks are not there,” Swan said.

Swan said the next Village Board is going to have some huge challenges, because of the downturn of the economy. He hopes future trustees maintain the practice he has supported of requiring developers to help pay for infrastructure improvements.

A 50-year Elburn resident, Swan works as a Kane County Circuit Court case scheduler. He currently has no plans to seek another elected office.

Police chief wants more lenient garbage ordinance

by Martha Quetsch
Elburn Police Chief Jim Linane wants the village to approve a less restrictive garbage pickup ordinance in response to residents’ concerns.

He suggested the village should allow people to put their trash cans out starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday, and bring them in from the curb by 9 a.m. Thursday, the day after garbage pickup.

“I proposed this change because in spite of what other towns are doing, I had concerns about seniors having to put their garbage out in the dark, on icy driveways, and about some businesses,” Linane said.

Under the current garbage ordinance the Village Board approved in May 2008, garbage bins may be placed on the parkway no earlier than 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and must be removed no later than 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

Linane recently researched garbage collection ordinances from more than 15 other towns in the area, and found that Elburn’s ordinance was among the least restrictive.

“In general, our current ordinance is comparatively lenient,” Linane said.

For example, in St. Charles, garbage cannot be placed at the curb before 7 p.m. the day before pickup.

Linane said during the first few months after the ordinance took effect, the Police Department distributed 1,000 flyers to first-time violators, a courtesy notice about the new regulation. During the fall, the Police Department issued approximately 90 tickets for violations of the ordinance.

People who objected to receiving a ticket had an opportunity to appeal the tickets, and the Police Department voided many of the citations based upon the circumstances, Linane said.

Alan Herra, a resident of Cambridge Avenue, was among those who received a ticket for violating the ordinance and was able to have it voided. During a Village Board meeting in December, he said he is unable to adhere to the ordinance’s deadline for removing trash cans from the curb because of the hours he works.

Some senior citizens told police that they wanted to be able to place their garbage receptacles on the parkway before dark. And business owners want to put their garbage out when they close for the day, which for many is at 5 p.m.

As a result of the number of people objecting to the ordinance for practical reasons, the Village Board in December approved a moratorium on the ordinance until the Police Department reviewed it for possible changes.

Another change Linane proposed for the refuse pickup ordinance is allowing residents to place bags of leaves on the parkway at any time during October and November. Under the current ordinance, they cannot place the bags at the curb until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“It would make it a little easier for residents,” Linane said. “Currently, people who rake and bag their leaves on the weekend—some of them having 30 or 40 bags—have to put them someplace until Tuesday. So they have to move them twice.”

The village is seeking feedback from residents and businesses about Linane’s recommendation to make the garbage ordinance more lenient. To view the proposed ordinance, see Elburn news flash on the village website, www.elburn.il.us.

Bowlers solved by Fenton at home

Kaneland lost a close bowling battle with visiting Fenton on Wednesday, Jan. 21, by a final of 2,675-2,651.

Emily Curran, at 484, had the top Lady Knight series, followed by Holly Thomas at 475 and Jessica Stebbins at 464.

The high games were Thomas’ 189, Curran’s 179 and Kathleen Moravcik’s 168.

Fenton also defeated the JV Lady Knights by a final of 2,279-2,090. Jessica McHenry bowled a 370 series and Sonja Isaacs had a 365 series to her credit. Highest game was had by Tierra Lee at 150.

IMSA hosts Kaneland on Thursday, Jan. 29, and Kaneland travels to Lisle on Monday, Feb. 2. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at Rochelle is WSC Position Night.

Photo: Senior bowler Trisha Roberts takes aim at the pins during last Wednesday’s JV loss to Fenton at AMF Valley Lanes in North Aurora. Photo by Mary Herra

Wrestling nabs two seconds against WSC best at Sycamore

Sycamore High School was the site of the annual Western Sun Conference tournament, and Kaneland wrestling had some success.

While finishing in eighth place, the Knights saw two of their wrestling brethren get to championship matches.

Batavia won the meet with 177.5 points, followed by Sycamore’s 174.5. Yorkville finished in third with 169.5.

DeKalb was fourth with 151.5 points, followed by Rochelle at 86. Geneva (84), Glenbard South (80) and Kaneland (65) rounded out the last three.

Jay Levita, at 145 pounds, earned a 3:32 pin over DeKalb’s Robbie Miller and a 1:37 fall over Yorkville’s Steven Pozeg. Sycamore’s Sean Akins pinned Levita in the final in three minutes.

Levita’s teammate Jimmy Boyle won over Colton Mejorado of Yorkville in the 285-pound group (1:42 fall), and took a 2-0 OT decision over Sycamore’s Luke Sgarlata before getting pinned in the final by Raider Austin Teistma.

Devon Scholl finished third at 125 pounds after outlasting Glenbard South’s Pat Williams 6-0.
130-pound entry Matt Weaver finished fourth on a day that included a 2-1 win over Geneva’s Collin Callahan.

The grapplers hope to make an impression on Hampshire, Marengo and Sycamore while hosting a quad on Friday, Jan. 30, at 5:30 p.m.

Loss to DeKalb drops boys hoops to .500

by Mike Slodki
DeKalb boys basketball is surging lately, and not even Kaneland could stand in their way on Friday night.

Kaneland fell victim to DeKalb’s defense and struggled to find its own offensive groove in the 50-37 loss.

DeKalb has gone on a tear after starting out 0-4 this season. They have now won nine contests in a row to improve to 11-6 (6-1 Western Sun Conference). Kaneland fell to 8-8 with a 2-5 mark in the Western Sun Conference.

For Kaneland, Dave Dudzinski had 13 points and Mike Pritchard added seven. Dudzinski’s post nemesis Jordan Threloff had a game-high 20.

“We took poor shots and didn’t make shots,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said. “For the most part, we played pretty good defense, but then we got behind and we had to force the issue. DeKalb’s quick, and we needed to contain them.”

Kaneland’s evening began with seven of its first nine shots missing, but did gather four steals to keep DeKalb from extending its 8-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

A three-pointer by Ryan Blake and a baseline jumper by Chaon Denlinger closed to within 10-9 with 6:20 to go.

As the defensive battle continued, Dudzinski hit a jumper with 5:01 to go in the half to close within 15-11. Dudzinski’s three-point play and two foul shots by Pritchard chiseled into the Barbs’ lead at halftime, 19-16.

The third quarter went all Barbs as they outscored KHS 16-9 while setting the tone with their defense. DeKalb scored the first seven points of the quarter before Pritchard’s three with 5:11 left made it 26-19.

Kaneland fell behind 33-21 before Dudzinski’s two free throws with 59 seconds to go closed within 10. DeKalb led after three 35-25.

Ryley Bailey’s three-pointer with 5:26 to go made a game of it again at 35-31, but DeKalb’s 13-3 run, which concluded with a Threloff pair of foul shots with 1:02 left, cinched matters.

“When you struggle putting the ball in the basket and score 37 points, you can’t win,” Hansen said. Kaneland is now 0-8 when scoring under 50 points.

In sophomore action, the Knights dropped a 57-42 result to visiting DeKalb on Thursday.

Taylor Andrews had 11 points, and Omarr Maldonado and Zach Ringhouse had 10 each.

The Knights host Rochelle in a WSC clash on Friday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. and visit Hampshire at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31.

Photo: Christian Dillon tries driving past DeKalb force Jordan Threloff during Friday’s home loss to DeKalb. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS girls lose in final seconds

Last year, Kaneland girls basketball fought to double overtime before losing to DeKalb at KHS.

With the same opponent, same setting and familiar drama, the same result happened.

DeKalb used clutch foul shooting as the seconds wound down on Friday to earn a 34-32 win over the Lady Knights. The loss dropped Kaneland’s record to 4-15 (1-9 Western Sun Conference). A year ago at this time, Kaneland was 7-12 (1-9 WSC).

Emily Heimerdinger led the way with a game-high 12 points, while Sara Rose and Alyssa Galvan had eight points each.

Kaneland was 12-for-30 from the field and 6-for-11 from the free-throw line.

The Lady Knights led 8-6 after one quarter, but fell behind 17-14 going into the locker room at halftime. KHS rallied to take a 25-24 lead after three quarters.

Late in the fourth quarter, DeKalb’s Ali Ford was fouled by Heimerdinger on a trey attempt and hit all three foul shots to go up 32-30. Heimerdinger then hit a shot to tie the score at 32 apiece. DeKalb’s Emily Murphy was then fouled on a shot attempt and made two free throws with seven seconds remaining to go up 34-32. Kaneland’s last gasp was a shot by Heimerdinger that was blocked.

In underclass action, the freshmen Lady Knights outlasted Burlington Central on Friday 40-27. Kaneland went out to a 12-0 lead after one and 22-4 after the first half.

McKinzie Mangers had 11 points and Ariel Geraghty added 10. Sophomore hoops action for the girls featured a 27-16 loss to visiting DeKalb on Thursday.

Kaneland freshmen defeated the Glenbard South faction by a final of 41-39 on Jan. 17, thanks to Kylie Siebert’s 10 points.

Upcoming varsity action has the Lady Knights hosting Rochelle at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29. Kaneland was scheduled to make up a contest vs. East Aurora on Wednesday.

Photo: Emily Heimerdinger ties the score with 20 seconds left during the Kaneland girls varsity game against DeKalb Friday night. The Lay Knights lost 34-32. Photo by John DiDonna

Holiday Spirit Committee thanks community for support

The Holiday Spirit Committee continues to be touched each year by this community’s ongoing generosity. As our population grows, it is especially inspiring to witness old and new neighbors coming together to help one another in a small town way.

Due to current economic conditions, the number of families who requested assistance increased significantly this year. And yet, thanks to your generosity, we were able to help all who needed support: 62 Kaneland families, including 153 children.

Holiday Spirit provided each family with gifts for every child and a food gift card. It would be impossible to share with you the many additional ways our families were blessed by the outpouring of love from strangers. For the hat and mitten trees that collected warmth for little hands and faces, and the 39 precooked holiday meals, we are incredibly grateful.

For the civic groups, churches and classrooms who helped meet the wishes on a child’s Christmas list, we are humbled by your thoughtfulness. For the families that bought presents for a needy family instead of each other, we are inspired by your selflessness. To the groups that sponsored toy drives, stuffed stockings and looked for deals all year long, we thank you.

It is truly amazing to step back and count all the blessings we have in our community. Together, we made a real difference in the lives of hurting area families. Thank you.

Carol Werdin Alfrey, PhD
Associate Executive Director
Conley Outreach Community Services

Emergency food programs show increase in need

Hunger is an everyday issue in our communities, and a troubled economy has only intensified this problem.

In Kane County alone, the unemployment rate increased by 1.6 percent over the last year to 6.4 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

People needing the assistance of emergency feeding programs in Kane County are also up 29 percent since last year. Sites report that many of these people are seeking food assistance for the first time in their lives and that many are middle-class families.

“There is a direct correlation between the growth of unemployment and the need for food assistance,” said H. Dennis Smith, Executive Director & CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Northern Illinois Food Bank anticipates that these numbers will only rise, especially as food prices trend higher. With retailers passing higher production costs to consumers, USDA’s Economic Research projected 2008 food prices increased from 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent. Families already struggling with stretched budgets can expect little reprieve in the new year, as this study projects an additional 4 to 5 percent increase in food costs in 2009. Historically, the increase in cost of food is between 2 and 3 percent annually.

Northern Illinois Food Bank and its partner food assistance sites often present the only safety net for hungry people, but even these organizations are finding it difficult to meet this increasing demand. Rising food prices affect the Food Bank’s ability to secure more food as well. Only with additional help from the community as a whole can more be done for hungry people.

Call Northern Illinois Food Bank at (630) 443-6910 today to learn how you can help.

Thank you for helping the Elburn food pantry

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the volunteer staff of the Elburn Countryside Food Pantry, we want to sincerely thank all those individuals, organizations, Scout troops, schools and businesses who so generously donated to the food pantry during this past holiday season.

We received an outpouring of donations in a time when the need has been the greatest. We have had an increase in the people we serve, and with the community’s help and donations, we have been able to meet the needs of our neighbors.

Thanks to all for the generous support of the Elburn Countryside Food Pantry.

Rita Burnham
Board President
Elburn Countryside Food Pantry

Spring into Spring dance

Kaneland High School will host a Spring into Spring dance on is having a Spring into Spring dance on Feb. 28, 2009. Girls ask guys or guys ask girls; it doesn’t matter. Dress like your date with matching shirts and/or complete outfits, just like the old Sadie Hawkins-style dance. Prizes will be awarded for the best outfits.

The dance is from 7 to 11 p.m., so come and dance the night away. Tickets are $5 per person and will be sold during lunch the week before the dance.

English as a second language course

Town & Country Public Library
320 E. North St., Elburn • (6300 365-2244

English as a second language course
The library will offer another English as a Second Language course for non-English speaking adults in the Fox Valley.

This free course will be taught by certified ESL instructors from Waubonsee Community College. The first course starts Monday, Jan. 26, and provides 45 hours of instruction.

Students will meet every Monday and Wednesday, through March 18, from 6 to 8:45 pm. You may register as late as Monday, Feb. 2.

Textbooks will be on loan to students at no cost. Students will be charged $12 for workbooks. Child care (ages 2 to 10) will be provided free of charge.

This ESL course is being offered because the library was awarded a grant entitled “The American Dream Starts @ Your Library.”

Local students named to Augustana College fall term Dean’s List

Sara Michelle Bihner, Matthew Peter Bowman, April J. Runde, Amanda N. Lindoo and Maray Ellise Rhoades, all of Elburn, were named to the Dean’s List at Augustana College for the 2008 fall term.

Students who earned this academic honor maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a four-point scale for courses taken during the 2008 fall term.

Bihner, Bowman and Runde are majoring in general studies; Lindoo and Rhoades are majoring in geology and psychology, respectively.

Local resident graduates with honors

2nd Lt. Ted Lauzen recently graduated with honors from the U.S. Marine Corps’ Basic School in Quantico, Va.

The Basic School is an intensive six-month training program required for all officers in the Marine Corps. Through classroom instruction, individual examinations, practical application exercises and extreme physical tests, the Basic School teaches officers the expectations and tactics of an infantry platoon commander.

Lauzen graduated 10th in his class of 233 officers and was named to the Commanding General’s Honor Roll. Lauzen will begin training as a Naval Aviator in Pensacola, Fla. in March.

Ted Lauzen is a 2007 magna cum laude graduate of Duke University and is the son of state Sen. Chris and Sarah Lauzen of Aurora.

Don’t just get rid of the governor, get rid of the tollway

Pat Quinn, once he becomes governor, should not only remove Rod Blagojevich’s name from Illinois’ tollway roads, but he should remove the tollbooths as well.

Over 50 years is a long time for citizens of Illinois to put up with tollway corruption by the governor, present and past; by several toll authority directors, present and past; and by many of our state legislators. Not only is the toll authority a haven for such corruption, it is an embarrassment for citizens of Illinois.

In 2009, the toll authority expects to collect $680 million. After paying the operating costs and paying what is due on the outstanding bonds, $212 million is put into what I call a slush fund. This fund is used any way the governor or the director deems necessary. For example, in 2006 Gov. Blagojevich moved $44.7 million from this fund to the state treasury.

The toll authority can raise the toll/tax any time they want without the approval of our elected legislators in Springfield. I call the toll that we pay a tax because that is exactly what it is—a tax. Remember that this toll/tax is collected not only at the tollbooth, but comes from I-Pass collection and from the monstrous fines paid by innocent drivers not keeping an eye on their credit card expiration date.

Yes, the tollbooths need to go, along with the name of Rod Blagojevich. Pat Quinn was an adversary of the tollway system not too many years ago. I hope he is still today.

Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove

Wildlife Center auction includes luxurious vacation

The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is holding its Seventh Annual Winter Dinner/Auction on Saturday, Feb. 7. The event will be at Riverside Reception and Banquets in Geneva and is the Wildlife Center’s primary fundraising event. All proceeds will go towards helping the many injured and orphaned animals that will be brought to the Wildlife Center in 2009.

The FVWC Winter Dinner/Auction features a silent and a live auction, a 50/50 and cash raffle, wildlife presentations and dinner. The winners of this year’s photo contest will also be announced and contest entries will be on display. The event begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $40 per person. Tables may be reserved for 8-10 people.

This year’s live auction items include a one-week luxurious vacation for up to 10 people at Satinwood in Coral Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, valued at $3,500 to $4,410. The lodging has two full kitchens, a pool and a sun deck, and is minutes from the beach, shopping and dining. Cable television, stereo and other comforts are included. For more information, visit www.satinwood-usvi.com.

Other live auction items are a behind-the-scenes tour of Lincoln Park Zoo for six people; artwork from the Wildlife Center’s habitants, Duke and Toby; stained glass; artwork of Summer — signed by Summer, and more. To purchase tickets for the event, contact the FVWC at (630) 365-3800 or P.O. Box 385, Elburn, IL 60119.

Unhappy with editorial page

I was disgusted with the direction of your editorial page in Thursday’s Herald—another lauding of our new president who has yet to prove himself, and that shoe-throwing cartoon above it putting down a man who just gave eight years of his life in service of his country.

What has happened already in Obama’s first day in office? He has gone from immediately closing Guantanamo to putting it off for a year. If he closes it, then he will close it in the time frame that President Bush was promising.

Obama was going to wave his magic wand and end the war in Iraq. Now he’s saying it may take until 2011—Bush said he’d have us out of there by 2010.

Seems your new God has extended, rather than shortened, the war, now that he actually sat down with the generals and found out what’s really going on. When, and if, we pull out of Iraq, your sons and daughters aren’t coming home. Obama wants them moved to Afghanistan, where the war and the tribes involved have the same problems and issues.

Here are some facts on Guantanamo: 40 percent of the prisoners are Yemeni. Two of them have been convicted through a military commission, and two are charged with war crimes for their part in the 9/11 attacks. Yemen has offered to take the rest and “rehabilitate” them.

Of the 354 prisoners that Yemen has “rehabilitated” so far, at least 23 of them were involved in the U.S. Embassy bombing in Yemen, which killed 17 service members. Several have broken out of Yemen prisons and joined Al-Qaeda. The Yemeni government, due to their lack of resources, is asking that the United States fund a new, more systematic program for rehabilitation, which the Bush administration estimated would cost (between) $10 million and $20 million (from the Washington Post, Nov. 18, 2008, which can be found online). In other words, Yemen is unable to control these prisoners without our help. Why then would we return them there?

Of 138 Saudis who were held at Guantanamo, all but 20 have been released. Ten of these are slated to be released to the Saudis, who say they will “rehabilitate” them—which in the past has meant freeing them to celebrity status. The other 10 are slated to go on trial for terrorist activity. Some prisoners have asked the United States not to transfer them back to their countries because they’re afraid of torture and execution.

Per a website, boards.history.com, by 2005, out of 775 detainees originally brought to Guantanamo, 70 percent had had a review, some were released outright, some transferred to other countries, some await a decision on what to do with them, as no one wants them. Obama talks about releasing detainees; Bush released 527.

In addition, Sunday’s newspapers reported that Ali al-Shiri, who was at Guantanamo for six years, has now resurfaced as a leader of a Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda. According to the Pentagon, at least 18 former Guantanamo detainees have “returned to the fight,” and another 43 are suspected of resuming terrorist activities.

Obama infers that we’re making these people terrorists and anti-American by having them at Guantanamo. This is lopsided thinking. They’re there because of what they’ve done. Do prisoners in regular correction systems hate the system? Of course. But they’ve put themselves there.

Also in Sunday’s paper is the information that Abu Ghraib will reopen under Iraqi control. Well, I guess we have two possible solutions as to what to do with our remaining prisoners at Guantanamo. Send them all to Iraq. Or maybe we should simply put them in our maximum-security prisons. With the quirky patriotism that prisoners often have, I imagine they’d take care of any remaining problem terrorists we give them. A short time there, and the terrorist prisoners would be begging to go back to Guantanamo.

Mention Guantanamo in my home and Bill, formerly with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, erupts into a rage. He ran intelligence missions from Vietnam out of uniform. What, he says, people don’t understand is that the Geneva Convention covers captured soldiers who are in uniform. Enemy combatants not in uniform are considered spies. There wasn’t a single uniform on any of those at Guantanamo. When the war first started, who were we to recognize as the enemy? Was it unreasonable that some people were rounded up who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Have they been released? Yes, they have.

Had my husband been captured, he would have been tortured and probably killed. John McCain, in uniform, was captured and tortured and held for five years. Why are we asking such compassion for prisoners suspected of terrorist activity when their people behead civilians on the Internet? The Viet Cong and Al-Qaeda don’t differ in their lack of respect for human life.

Bill adds, “Our president’s first priority is to keep us safe. He must do what he must do to accomplish that. Guantanamo is about our safety.”

Obama’s going to again wave that wand and save the economy. No one asks how—their eyes just glaze over. How quickly you’ve forgotten that in the aftermath of 9/11, our economy took a nosedive, and Bush pulled us out. I didn’t hear of anyone who returned their two tax refunds.

Are you disgusted with the greed of some of the CEO’s of corporate America? Do you remember where the players of Enron are? In prison—put there by laws that Bush quickly enacted in order to arrest corporate greed.

Did George Bush personally come with you to the bank and push your hand to sign mortgage papers for a house you knew you couldn’t afford? Did he tell you to max out your credit cards?

I’ve often wondered if former presidents sit down before a fireplace and start to read through their stacks of mail. I visualize President Bush opening letters, tossing the nasty ones into the fire, and then coming to mine. I told him how I will have two lasting images of him: Standing on the rubble of the Twin Towers, telling the firemen, “I hear you,” and speaking before the nation in the days after the attacks, telling us we must not become complacent, and that he never would. He stuck to that. You never had to guess where he stood. And I ended with, “Don’t worry about how well you did. You did the best that you could.”

Faced with an unprecedented situation, moved in a matter of minutes from reading to schoolchildren to having to respond to a horrific attack, he did do the best he could. He does not deserve your tacky cartoons, or the selective amnesia of the nation he served. Obama and McCain both talked about what they would do in the future. Never once have they told us what they would have done if they’d been president then.

Put your shoes back on and quit denigrating our former President. A woman recently wrote tongue-in-cheek to the Chicago Tribune that Obama would save us a lot of jet fuel because he wouldn’t need to fly to foreign countries for meetings—he would just walk across the water. Adulation is a dangerous thing. Obama is, after all, just a man—just like George Bush before him.

Paula and Bill Coughlan
Elburn

The EBS Winter Clinics are back

All clinics are held at Blackberry Creek Elementary School. There is a $2 entry fee per player per session. Clinics are only open to registered EBS players. To help at the clinics, contact Sal Occhipinti at (630) 365-1837.

Sun, Feb. 1 – No Clinic

Sun. Feb. 8
2-3:30 p.m. – T-Ball
3:45-5:15 p.m. – Majors
5:30-7 p.m. – Pony
7-7:30 p.m. – Cleanup Crew

Sunday, Feb. 15
2-5:15 p.m. – Minors Evaluations
5:30-7 p.m. – U10-U16 Evaluations

Tuesday, Feb. 17
U10-U16 DRAFT – TBA

Wednesday, Feb. 18
MINORS DRAFT – TBA

Sunday, Feb. 22
2-3:30 p.m. – Pony Evaluations
3:30-4:30 p.m. – Pony Draft
4-6 p.m. – Majors Evaluations
6-7 p.m. – Majors Draft
7-7:30 p.m. – Cleanup Crew.

Sunday, March 1
2-3:30 p.m. – TBall
3:45-5:15 p.m. – Majors
5:30-7 p.m. – Pony
7-7:30 p.m. – Cleanup Crew

Sunday, March 8
2-3:30 p.m. – U8-U16
3:45-5:15 p.m. – Instructional
5:30-7 p.m. – Minors
7-7:30 p.m. – Cleanup Crew

Sunday, March 15
2-3 p.m. – TBall
3:15-4:15 p.m. – Instructional
4:30-5:30 p.m. – Minors
5:45-6:45 p.m. – Majors
6:45-7:15 p.m. – Cleanup Crew

Sunday, March 22
2-4:30 p.m. – Softball Specialty
Clinics, TBA
4:45-7 p.m. – Baseball Specialty
Clinics, TBA.

Country Cousins group gathers Feb. 5

The February meeting of the Country Cousins Unit of the Kane County Association for Home and Community Education will be held on Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Elburn Town and Country Library. The meeting will convene at 12:30 p.m. with hostess Sylvia Varhus. The lesson for the day is entitled “Blue, Blahs and Bouncing Back.”

For more info, call (630) 365-2209.

Lunch Bunch meets Feb. 3

The Kaneville Lunch Bunch will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009, at noon. The meal will be served by Food For Thought in the Kaneville Village Room at the Community Center. The cost is $5 and reservations can be made by calling (630) 557-2220 by Saturday, Jan. 31. This lunch is open to all local retired persons.

Delnor Orthokids program seeks local volunteers

orthokids The Orthokids aquatic exercise class, a therapeutic course for children with neurological and orthopedic conditions, needs the help of the community. Swimming and ambulation skills are not a prerequisite for this warm-water program.

The Orthokids program helps children with neurological and orthopedic conditions gain independence of movement. To keep the quality of this program at peak levels, a volunteer needs to be paired with each Orthokid to play games and to work on different therapeutic activities based on the child’s individual needs. Volunteers should be high school age and up.

The program is held on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, 4:15 to 5 p.m., from Jan. 26 to March 5.

There will be a one-hour orientation on Tuesday, Jan. 20, and Thursday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Delnor Health & Wellness Center cafe. You need only to attend one session. The H&W Center is located at 296 Randall Road, Geneva.

If you or someone you know can volunteer time to help with this program, call Jennifer Simmons at (630) 208-5510. Leave your name and address on the voicemail; volunteer forms will be mailed to you.

Tooth Fairy Mission

Sugar Grove United Methodist Church invites the community to help the homeless at Hesed House with donated supplies or financial donations to be used for dental purchases during the month of February.

Dental care items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss may be brought to the church at 176 Main St. in Sugar Grove and put in the “Tooth Fairy Bucket.”

Sugar Grove Dentist Dr. Donald Fee will use any monetary donations to purchase dental supplies at cost for the mission. One of the first things neglected when one becomes homeless is dental care. With just a few items donated, you can become a “tooth fairy” to a homeless man, woman or child.

For more information, contact SGUMC at (630) 466-4501.

Local residents recognized as students of the month

Kaneland High School students Ryan Blake (Residential/Commercial Electrician II), Robert Kuti (Small Engines I), Joseph Spitzzeri (Small Engines I), Zachary Born (Welding I), Brenton McCuan (Auto Technology I), Adam Ross (Auto Technology II), Ernest Baldwin (Welding I), Jesus Caltzontzin (Auto Technology I) and Curtis Lubic (PC Maintenance, Repair & Networking) have been recognized as “students of the month” by the Fox Valley Career Center.

To receive this honor, students are selected by their program instructors because they have demonstrated the ability to do excellent work and accomplish goals for their particular career training during the past month.

News anchor and best-selling author to speak at St. Peter Church

Award-winning journalist and best-selling author Raymond Arroyo will discuss Engaging the Culture on Monday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at St. Peter Church, 1891 Kaneville Road in Geneva.

In this bracing and funny talk, Arroyo will reveal how some well-known Catholics have engaged the culture and transformed it. Discover how you can do the same and why this cultural engagement is so important today.

Arroyo is seen each week in more than 100 million homes around the globe on EWTN’s international news magazine, “The World Over Live.” As host and creator of this show, Arroyo has interrogated the leading figures of the day, including Mel Gibson on the set of his film, “The Passion of the Christ,” and Pope Benedict XVI in the only English language conversation ever recorded with the pontiff.

Arroyo will also introduce his latest best-selling book, “Mother Angelica’s Private and Pithy Lessons from Scriptures.” He has also written New York Times Bestsellers “Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network of Miracles” (Doubleday), and “Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality” (Doubleday). Books will be available for purchase, and Arroyo will sign books as well.

Everyone is welcome. This speaker is sponsored by St. Peter Church’s Adult Formation and by the Parent Education Committee of St. Peter’s Home & School Association. A free-will donation will be taken. Call the Parish Center with questions, (630) 232-0124.

This week in sports 1/29-2/5

THURSDAY, Jan. 29
Boys Basketball:
Freshmen A/B at Hampshire, 5:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball:
Varsity/sophomore vs. Rochelle, 5:30 p.m.
Bowling:
Varsity/JV at IMSA, 4:15 p.m.

FRIDAY, Jan. 30
Boys Basketball:
Varsity/sophomore vs. Rochelle, 7 p.m.
Wrestling:
Varsity vs. Hampshire, Marengo, Sycamore, 5:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, Jan. 31
Boys Basketball:
Varsity/sophomore at Hampshire, 3 p.m.
Freshmen A/B vs. Yorkville, 9 a.m.
Girls Basketball:
Freshmen A/B at Yorkville, 9 a.m.
Wrestling:
JV/Freshmen at Yorkville (Western Sun Conference Tournament),TBA.

MONDAY, Feb. 2
Girls Basketball:
Freshmen A/B at Sycamore, 5:30 p.m.
Bowling:
Varsity/JV at Lisle, 4:30 p.m.

TUESDAY, Feb. 3
Bowling:
Varsity -WSC Position Night (Rochelle), 4:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4
Girls Basketball:
JV/Sophomore B vs. Oswego East, 5:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, Feb. 5
Boys Basketball:
Sophomore at Yorkville, 7 p.m.
Girls Basketball:
Sophomore at Yorkville, 5:30 p.m.

Matthew Daniel Kray

Daniel and Teresa Kray of Elburn announce the birth of their son, Matthew Daniel, Dec. 10, 2008, at Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva.
He weighed 10 pounds, 3 ounces, and was 21 inches long.
His grandparents are Karen and Roy Porschakin of Northlake, Ill., David Kray of River Grove, Ill., and Linda Kray of Lombard, Ill.
He was welcomed home by his big brother, Andrew, 11.